Jennifer Effron, Executive Director
Mission and Overview
Washington Gateway Main Street is a 501(c)(3) business development and neighborhood improvement organization. Our mission is to develop and sustain the economic vitality of the commercial and residential neighborhoods along Washington Street in the South End and Lower Roxbury.
The district itself runs 1.4 miles along Washington Street from Herald Street to Melnea Cass Boulevard. Working in partnership with businesses, neighborhood organizations, real estate developers and City officials, Gateway’s success can be seen in the vibrant and active streets, storefront improvements, neighborhood events and rejuvenated open spaces.
A history of the South End neighborhood of Boston begins with Washington Street. One of the City’s oldest thoroughfares, it was, until the 1850′s, the only road connecting colonial Boston to the rest of the state. When tidal marshes to the northwest were filled in, speculative residential development soon followed and the largest Victorian neighborhood in the nation began taking shape. The height of residential development was between 1850 and 1873 and soon after Boston’s fashionable moved to the mansions of the Back Bay, constructed in the latter part of the century.
By the late 19th century the South End had fallen victim to hard economic times and for most of the next century the built environment was victim to neglect and demolition. In 1901 the Elevated Railway was constructed, in part, along Washington Street. Although there were only two stops in the (current) district boundaries, the tracks cast a dark shadow over the buildings, hastening decline until the tracks removal in 1987. During the 1950′s and 1960′s the City also determined that many locations in the neighborhood were blighted and created Urban Renewal Zones, razing many Victorian homes to make way for multi-family housing. In 1966, out of concern for the preservation of the South End’s Victorian Row Houses, the South End Historical Society was formed. In 1972 the South End was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, which then led to designation as an historic district in Boston, with a commission to create and oversee design standards.
With the Elevated Orange Line gone and historic district boundaries set, Mayor Thomas Menino appointed a task force to revitalize Washington Street in the South End/Lower Roxbury in 1995. The Washington Street Task Force Plan recommended new zoning for the corridor as well as the creation of a local Main Streets organization. Washington Gateway Main Street has been accredited by the National Trust since 1997 and continues to support Washington Street’s economic vitality today. In just over 15 years, through Mayor Menino’s leadership, over $1 Billion has been invested by the public and private sector, the neighborhood has over 2,000 new and rehabbed housing units and over 80 new businesses have opened, occupying 250,000 square feet of retail space. And history continues to be made as new developments crop up and new businesses open their doors every day in the Gateway District.
Board of Directors
Marc LaCasse, President
Craig M. Nicholson, Vice President and Clerk
Michael Semizoglou, Treasurer
Kate Moran Carter
Kate is an attorney at Brennan, Dain, Le Ray, Wiest, Torpy & Garner, P.C, where she provides advice, litigation and dispute resolution services to developers, landowners and condominium associations. She and her family have lived in the South End since 2005. In addition to serving as a member of the Board of Directors of WGMS, Ms. Carter and her husband are active supporters of South End Youth Baseball and active gardeners in the West Springfield Street Community Garden.
Jonathan is a Senior Planner/Project Manager with the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA). As Project Manager of the Crossroads Initiative, he is responsible for design consultant management, abutter and stakeholder outreach and communication as well as the interdepartmental and interagency coordination required for redesign of 12 downtown streets that intersect the Rose Kennedy Greenway. As a Planner, he is responsible for managing and directing development projects, planning initiatives and community outreach in Boston’s Fenway, Kenmore, Back, Downtown and North Station neighborhoods, as well as the permitting of air rights development along the Massachusetts Turnpike.
Arthur (Bud) Larievy
Matthew is a construction project manager for AJAX Consulting Services, LLC and small business engineer at Matthew & Co., LLC. A native of Kansas City, MO, he has been a resident of the South End since 2008. Matthew is actively involved as a member of the Economic Development and Promotions committees, as well as with other community organizations in the South End. He currently serves as the President of Blackstone/Franklin Squares Neighborhood Association and an ad hoc member of the Board of Directors for the Friends of Blackstone/Franklin Squares. Matthew is a Community Liaison Committee (CLC) member for the National Emerging Infectious Disease Laboratory (NEIDL) at Boston University Medical Campus.
Transportation and Directions
The closest stops are Back Bay and Tufts Medical Center. From Back Bay, walk south on Clarendon Street until you reach Washington Street. From Tufts Medical Center, walk west on Washington Street until you pass Herald Street. The Washington Gateway district lies primarily between Herald Street and Melnea Cass Boulevard.
The SL4 and SL5 buses stop all along Washington Street, including the following stops in the district: Melnea Cass Boulevard, Lenox Street, Massachusetts Avenue, Worcester Street, Newton Street, W Dedham Street, Berkeley Street and Herald Street. These buses run between Dudley Square and DowntownOur office is located at 46 Waltham Street, on the third floor in Suite 304A. The entrance is from the courtyard.
From the West: From I90 (Mass Pike), take Exit 22 toward Prudential Center / Copley Square. Keep left at the fork and merge onto Huntington Avenue. Take a left on Massachusetts Avenue, and you will reach Washington Street after one half of a mile.
From the North: From I93 South, take Exit 20B for I90W (Mass Pike). Continue on the ramp and merge onto Albany Street. After half a mile, turn right on Malden Street, which soon becomes Monsignor Reynolds Way. Washington Street will be to your left and right after 0.2 miles.
Directions Inside the Building
The building, which was once a piano factory can be a bit of a maze, so here are some indoor directions to the office, Suite 304A.
You will see a blade sign with the number 46 on it as you approach the building. Enter through the brick arch and into the courtyard. Behind the sculpture, go through the glass door and to the elevator at the back of the entrance-way. Take the elevator to the 3rd floor (not 3A). When you get out walk down the hallway and keep following it past the sink and the two bathrooms and continuing around the corner. Keep walking along the hallway and you will come to 304A on the right hand side. We are next to Noise Industries.